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A CHILD’S BEST INTEREST

by Maura Hanrahan
Mark Portnoy was born in Canada on August 28, 1998. The celebration of his eighth birthday in Marystown, Newfoundland, was one of the highlights of his 2006. Another was the birth of his brother, Lukas.
     Besides these two bright spots, 2006 was a bleak time for Mark and his family, a time of sparse comfort.
     Mark’s parents and his Israeli-born siblings, Alon and Anna, are failed refugee claimants (a fourth sibling Valeria, is Canadian-born like Mark and Lukas). Upon receiving their deportation order in the fall of 2005, the Portnoys went into sanctuary at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Marystown. They have been in the church basement ever since.

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